Utica firefighter receives dream promotion to lieutenant

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 24, 2021

 Fred Gibson, a firefighter in Utica, is promoted to lieutenant and sworn in by Utica Mayor Gus Calandrino at City Hall Feb. 12.

Fred Gibson, a firefighter in Utica, is promoted to lieutenant and sworn in by Utica Mayor Gus Calandrino at City Hall Feb. 12.

Photo provided by Utica Fire Department

 Fred Gibson

Fred Gibson

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UTICA — A Utica firefighter was honored to receive a promotion Feb. 12 after almost 13 years with the Utica Fire Department.

Fred Gibson was promoted to lieutenant and sworn in by the Utica mayor, Gus Calandrino, at City Hall this month.

Gibson has served on the Utica Fire Department since Sept. 1, 2008.

Calandrino said the promotion is very significant.

“I had the honor of swearing in Lt. Fredrick Gibson. His promotion to lieutenant was especially significant as Lt. Gibson is the first African American officer to serve in the Utica Fire Department and his swearing in took place during Black History Month. Congratulations Lt. Gibson and thank you for your years of service,” he said.

Gibson said that having been promoted meant a lot to him and he is still letting the excitement sink in.

“I’m very excited for the promotion. I haven’t really told any family or friends yet. It really hasn’t sunken in for me. I’ll tell my mom this weekend. My girlfriend, Jenny Heard (a Highland Park Police Supervisor), was more excited than I,” he said.

Gibson said he is very thankful for the opportunity and has always dreamed of this special achievement.

“I’m thankful for Chief (Kevin) Wilseck and Assistant Chief (Randy) Plante for their recommendation to Mayor Calandrino for my promotion to the rank of lieutenant. My firefighting career started in 1970 (I was 5 years old). That’s another story,” he said.

Gibson’s actual career began in 1991, for the city of Taylor as an auxiliary firefighter. From there, he worked full time as firefighter and security supervisor for the Ford Motor Co. Wixom Assembly Plant. During this time, the city of Utica hired him. The city sent him to EMT school to further prepare him for the job to come.

“It has been a great experience working with some of the finest firefighters and paramedics around,” said Gibson.

Gibson’s duties will now consist of supervising firefighters in emergencies consisting of fires, vehicle accidents and some medical emergencies.

“I’m also a state instructor, so I’ll be conducting some training exercises, as soon as feasible,” he said.

Gibson said he gets to live the dream he always imagined as a kid.

“As always, I look forward to working with my brothers and sisters, now, and in the future. For me, this is a life dream come true; leader or not. I’m living my childhood dream. Even at my age, I still get that proud-like feeling, when I’m near these firetrucks,” he said.

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